Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who reads what?

Curious about what famous people are reading?

Bloggers are always sharing what's on their bookshelf or nightstand. For example, I can tell you right now that author BJ Hoff is reading Richard Lederer's The Revenge of Anguished English; author Lisa Samson is reading Mary DeMuth's Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Joy of karagraphy is reading Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz.

Fiction freak me...or should I say, I...just finished Stephanie Grace Whitson's A Garden in Paris, and have just started Elizabeth Musser's The Dwelling Place.

What are celebs reading? Well, apparently quite a bit of obscure and little-known stuff, according to this year's just-released list of Who Reads What.

Former librarian Glenna Nowell of Maine puts the list together. She says, "There's such a diversity of books, and not well-known, not best sellers."

Except for Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which shows up on the reading lists of columnist Jay Ambrose, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and at least one other celebrity.

I remember reading In Style magazine not long ago and being a little surprised to find that Queen Latifah was reading a book by Joyce Meyer. The rapper-turned-actress told the same thing to Lifetime magazine: "I'm reading a book called MANAGING YOUR EMOTIONS by Joyce Meyer. Sometimes we swing back and forth between emotions. This book is about finding the middle ground. It's a Christian book, but it's great for everyone because it doesn't knock you over the head with ideology."

A few years ago, U2's Bono, after a conversation about faith with Oasis band member Noel Gallagher, sent Gallagher a copy of Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing about Grace?

Author Jeri Massi blogs today about the power of books--even fiction and "light" reading--to communicate ideas, good or bad, to the reader: "[T. S. Eliot] observes that through the gates of light reading, ideas contrary to the Scripture can be passed to the reader, who unsuspectingly imbibes them all. Eliot does not advocate the abandonment of fiction; rather, he advocates that readers recognize that fiction is a legitimate means of communicating ideas. There is no such thing as 'mere entertainment'. All media come to us with the values and point of view of their creators woven directly into them. No communication is really 'light' communication, though a discerning reader learns when to take communication lightly."

Author Liz Curtis Higgs told me in a recent interview that she started out writing nonfiction, and she doubted the power of fiction until she read Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series (also one of my personal favorites!).

After reading those books, Higgs says, "I got the power of Christian fiction. Up until then, I'd been a non-fiction writer with stories brewing inside me, but not convinced that you could really teach people and really move them spiritually through fiction."

No doubt about it; what you read affects who you are. The cliche "GIGO--Garbage In, Garbage Out"--is trite, but true.

So, what are YOU reading? :)

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